As two bills make their way through the Georgia Legislature ahead of Monday’s crossover deadline, Georgia sports fans may soon have the opportunity to bet on sports legally from their living rooms. While a path forward is becoming clearer, a sports betting-only bill that would authorize sports betting and put the Georgia Lottery in charge of regulating it, called HB 380, appears to have the best chance of passing. The legislation would be able to be implemented as soon as this year and give fans a chance to place bets on next year’s Super Bowl if passed. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has expressed a willingness to legalize sports betting, and polling shows voters are enthusiastic about the prospect. If HB 380 is passed out of the House this week, it will go to Kemp for signature.
The Kentucky House of Representatives tabled a bill, House Bill 594, on Friday that would ban gambling machines commonly found at gas stations, convenience stores, and bars, often referred to as “gray machines.” These machines have been criticized for operating under a legal loophole, allowing them to bypass Kentucky’s laws prohibiting gambling through games of chance. The bill proposes to penalize machine owners and supervisors with a fine of $25,000 if the devices are used in the state. The bill advanced out of the House Licensing, Occupations, and Administrative Regulations Committee with a 13-7 vote on Thursday, but the proposal stumbled during a debate on the House floor, leading to its tabling by a 42-35 vote. The bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Killian Timoney, from Nicholasville, said the bill would clarify that the machines are banned in Kentucky, which outlaws most forms of gambling. Proponents of the bill argue that the machines are “skill games,” meaning players can win through their ability. However, major groups, including the Kentucky Lottery Corporation and the state’s horse racing industry, oppose the “gray machines,” saying they take business away from the state’s legal forms of gambling. Businesses like gas stations and bars have earned revenue through unregulated machines.
An Auburn resident in Washington won the fifth-largest Powerball jackpot ever and the largest-ever win in the state, totaling $754.6 million. Becky Bell, who had already purchased a Powerball ticket, bought another after seeing the estimated winnings reach $747 million on the lottery vending machine at a Fred Meyer store, leading her to believe it was a sign to buy another ticket.